"...the Imagination (or love, or sympathy, or any other sentiment) induces knowledge, and knowledge of an 'object' which is proper to it..."
Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was a scholar, philosopher and theologian. He was a champion of the transformative power of the Imagination and of the transcendent reality of the individual in a world threatened by totalitarianisms of all kinds. One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Corbin was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Teheran. He was a major figure at the Eranos Conferences in Switzerland. He introduced the concept of the mundus imaginalis into contemporary thought. His work has provided a foundation for archetypal psychology as developed by James Hillman and influenced countless poets and artists worldwide. But Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His great work Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind. His work marks a watershed in our understanding of the religions of the West and makes a profound contribution to the study of the place of the imagination in human life.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Request For Information

I would like to know when Henry Corbin first mentioned any work by C.G. Jung in his writings. Corbin was first at Eranos in 1949, and the lecture he gave that year contains several references to Jung. If anyone among the readers of this blog knows of anything before 1949 I would very much appreciate hearing from you.  - I might add that I think it unlikely. - TC tcheetham@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coleman Barks on Rumi

Rumi: The Big Red Book, versions by Coleman Barks.

Coleman Barks on Rumi, Islam & Sufism: "Rumi: The Big Red Book collects all the work that I have done on The Shams (Rumi's Divani Shamsi Tabriz, The Works of Shams Tabriz) over the last 34 years. As I put this book together, I felt drawn to revise slightly almost every poem, to relineate and reword. So I hope this is a refreshed collection.
I sent a copy to my friend, Robert Bly. He describes in a letter what I have done with these poems: "You have given them pats on the shirt, set them on some local horse, and given the horse a clap on the rear, and the poems are gone, well almost gone." He should know. He got me started on this path, when in June of 1976, he handed me a copy of Arberry's translation of Rumi and said, "These poems need to be released from their cages," by which he meant they needed to be translated out of their scholarly idiom into the lively American free verse tradition of Whitman. Hence this book. It is not all that I have done the last three decades, but I did spend some time, almost every day, with Rumi's poetry. I do not regret it. Something about the practice keeps unfolding."  READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Monday, November 15, 2010

Request for Assistance

A reader of this blog is trying to track down a copy of the following essay:

"JUSTER, Alain, « Angelologie et politique chez Henry Corbin », dans CEMOTI [Cahiers d'études sur la Méditerranée orientale et le monde turco-iranien], 1989, Janvier, no.7, pp. 95-107."

We would very much appreciate it if anyone with access to this could make it available in some form. Please email me at tcheetham@gmail.com if you can help.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pedagogies of the Imagination

Pedagogies of the Imagination: Mythopoetic Curriculum in Educational Practice.  Leonard, Timothy; Willis, Peter (Eds.) 2008.

From the Publisher:  This book is about the practice of Imaginal Knowing in education. Imaginal knowing is not fantasy, but is linked to the way humans imagine the real world. Imaginal knowing moves the heart, holds the imagination, finds the fit between self-stories, public myths, and the content of cultural knowledge. It is deeply personal, yet open to the universe. The curriculum, as conceptualized here, is the medium through which imaginal knowing is evoked in both teachers and students.

In particular, see Chapter 3 by the prolific and always imteresting Peter Bishop : "The Shadow of Hope: Reconciliation & Imaginal Pedagogies" where Henry Corbin is cited several times.

(Thanks to Hadi Fakhoury for pointing this out).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Picturing the Shahnameh: Nov 11 2010

Picturing the Shahnameh:
Word and Image in Ferdowsi's
"Book of Kings"

In commemoration of the millennium anniversary of the Persian Book of Kings and its continued relevance to Iran today
Thursday, November 11, 2010, 6:30-8:00 pm
Massumeh Farhad
Chief Curator and Curator of Islamic Art
Freer Gallery of Art and the
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Azar Nafisi

Executive Director
SAIS Cultural Conversations
SAIS Nitze Building, Kenney Auditorium
1740 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
RSVP requested but not required -
laustin@jhu.edu or (202) 663-5635
Image: Iskandar (Alexander the Great) at the Talking Tree, From a Shahnama (Book of Kings) by Firdawsi (d.1020), Tabriz, Iran. Il-Khanid period, circa 1330-1336. Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper. Freer Gallery of Art, Purchase F1935.23

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Majnoun et Layla - 16 November, Paris

Conférence de Jad Hatem : "Majnoun Layla dans la mystique musulmane"

Le poète arabe Qays ibn al Mulawwah, surnommé Majnoun car devenu fou par amour de Layla, est progressivement devenu, dans le soufisme, le modèle de l’amant de Dieu, Layla, dans ce cas, symbolisant Dieu même. Le conférencier se propose d’expliquer les raisons de cet usage et d’exposer les étapes d’une mystique d’une union à Dieu en dépit de l’absence.

Jad Hatem est Professeur de philosophie, de littérature et de sciences religieuses l'Université Saint-Joseph à Beyrouth.

16 novembre 2010 à 19h
Institut des Cultures de l’Islam, 19-23 rue Léon, 75018 Paris

Monday, November 1, 2010

Le parcours philosophique de Henry Corbin

Le parcours philosophique de Henry Corbin: Phenomenologie-hermeneutique et philosophie prophetique by Daniel Proulx, M.A., Universite de Sherbrooke (Canada), 2010. On ProQuest here. I am delighted to be able to make this work available here, courtesy of the author. He can be contacted at Daniel.Proulx2@gmail.com. He is currently at the University of Montréal working on a thesis about the imagination in the spiritual experience of Ibn Arabi and Jakob Böhme.

Henry Corbin est-il un philosophe? À la lumière de notre recherche, nous sommes obligés de répondre par l’affirmative, il dit d’ailleurs de lui-même « je ne suis à vrai dire ni un germaniste ni même un orientaliste, mais un philosophe poursuivant sa Quête partout où l’Esprit le guide.» Mais comment comprendre et classifier un philosophe dont la Quête est guidée par l’Esprit? Henry Corbin a développé ce que nous devons nommer une « philosophie prophétique » et c’est par l’exploration de sa biographie et de ses influences de jeunesses, nommément Heidegger et Hamann, que nous pouvons esquisser les assises de sa méthode phénoménologico-herméneutique. Cette recherche se termine par l’exploration de l’espace (monde imaginal) et de l’organe de connaissance (imagination active) auquel nous rend attentifs la philosophie prophétique de Henry Corbin. Un monde où ont lieu et leur lieu les théophanies, les épopées mystiques et les visions des mystiques et théosophes. Mots-clés : Henry Corbin; philosophie prophétique; phénoménologie; herméneutique spirituelle; monde imaginal; hiérohistoire.

Is Henry Corbin a philosopher? According to our research, we are obliged to answer in the affirmative, as he says of himself: "Indeed, I am not nor a germanist, not even an orientalist but a philosopher pursuing his quest wherever the spirit guides him.” But how can one understand and categorize a philosopher whose quest is guided by the spirit? Henry Corbin has developed what we must call a "prophetic philosophy," and by exploring his biography and youthful influences, namely Heidegger and Hamann, we can lay the foundation of its phenomenologico-hermeneutical method. This research ends with the exploration of the space (imaginal world) and of the organ of knowledge (active imagination) which make us pay attention to the prophetic philosophy of Henry Corbin: a world in which the theophany, the mystical epics, and the visions of mystics and theosophists come about. Keywords : Henry Corbin, prophetic philosophy, phenomenology, spiritual hermeneutic, imaginal world, hierohistory